The British royal family comprises Queen Elizabeth II and her close relations. There is no strict legal or formal definition of who is or is not a member of the British royal family.
Those who at the time are entitled to the style His or Her Royal Highness (HRH), and any styled His or Her Majesty (HM), are normally considered members, including those so styled before the beginning of the current monarch's reign. By this criterion, a list of the current royal family will usually include the monarch, the children and male-line grandchildren of the monarch and previous monarchs, the children of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales, and all their current or widowed spouses.
Some members of the royal family have official residences named as the places from which announcements are made in the Court Circular about official engagements they have carried out. The state duties and staff of some members of the royal family are funded from a parliamentary annuity, the amount of which is fully refunded by the Queen to the Treasury.
Since 1917, when King George V changed the name of the royal house from Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, members of the royal family belong, either by birth or by marriage, to the House of Windsor. Senior titled members of the royal family do not usually use a surname, although since 1960 Mountbatten-Windsor, incorporating Prince Philip's adopted surname of Mountbatten, has been prescribed as a surname for Elizabeth II's direct descendants who do not have royal styles and titles, and it has sometimes been used when required for those who do have such titles. The royal family are regarded as British cultural icons, with young adults from abroad naming the family among a group of people that they most associated with UK culture.
Whitehall, 11th December, 1917.
- The KING has been pleased by Letters Patent under the Great Seal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, bearing date the 30th ultimo, to define the styles and titles to be borne henceforth by members of the royal family. It is declared by the Letters Patent that the children of any Sovereign of the United Kingdom and the children of the sons of any such Sovereign and the eldest living son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales shall have and at all times hold and enjoy the style, title or attribute of Royal Highness with their titular dignity of Prince or Princess prefixed to their respective Christian names or with their other titles of honour; that save as aforesaid the titles of Royal Highness, Highness or Serene Highness, and the titular dignity of Prince and Princess shall cease except those titles already granted and remaining unrevoked; and that the grandchildren of the sons of any such Sovereign in the direct male line (save only the eldest living son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales) shall have the style and title enjoyed by the children of Dukes.
In 1996 Queen Elizabeth II modified these letters patent, and this Notice appeared in the London Gazette:
The QUEEN has been pleased by Letters Patent under the Great Seal of the Realm dated 21st August 1996, to declare that a former wife (other than a widow until she shall remarry) of a son of a Sovereign of these Realms, of a son of a son of a Sovereign and of the eldest living son of the eldest son of The Prince of Wales shall not be entitled to hold and enjoy the style, title or attribute of Royal Highness.
On 31 December 2012, letters patent were issued to extend a title and a style borne by members of the royal family to additional persons to be born, and this Notice appeared in the London Gazette:
The QUEEN has been pleased by Letters Patent under the Great Seal of the Realm dated 31 December 2012 to declare that all the children of the eldest son of The Prince of Wales should have and enjoy the style, title and attribute of Royal Highness with the titular dignity of Prince or Princess prefixed to their Christian names or with such other titles of honour.
Members and relatives of the British royal family historically represented the monarch in various places throughout the British Empire, sometimes for extended periods as viceroys, or for specific ceremonies or events. Today, they often perform ceremonial and social duties throughout the United Kingdom and abroad on behalf of the United Kingdom. Aside from the monarch, their only constitutional role in the affairs of government is to serve, if eligible and when appointed by letters patent, as a Counsellor of State, two or more of whom exercise the authority of the Crown (within stipulated limits) if the monarch is indisposed or abroad. In the other countries of the Commonwealth royalty do not serve as Counsellors of State, although they may perform ceremonial and social duties on behalf of individual states or the organisation.
The Queen, her consort, her children and grandchildren, as well as all former sovereigns' children and grandchildren, hold places in the first sections of the official orders of precedence in England and Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. Wives of the said enjoy their husbands' precedence, and husbands of princesses are unofficially but habitually placed with their wives as well. However, the Queen changed the private order of precedence in the royal family in favour of Princesses Anne and Alexandra, who henceforth take private precedence over the Duchess of Cornwall, who is otherwise the realm's highest ranking woman after the Queen herself. She did not alter the relative precedence of other born-princesses, such as the daughters of her younger sons.
As of 2019, members of the royal family are:
|Royal family tree|
As the royal family is shared by other Commonwealth realms, its members will often also conduct official and non-official duties outside the United Kingdom, on behalf of the relevant state.
Air transport for the British Royal Family and the Government of the United Kingdom is provided, depending on circumstances and availability, by a variety of military and civilian operators. This includes the RAF VIP Voyager of the Royal Air Force (No. 32 (The Royal) Squadron) and The Queen's Helicopter Flight which forms part of the Royal Household. In past years chartered civil aircraft and scheduled commercial flights, mainly with British Airways, the flag carrier airline of the United Kingdom, have been utilised.Bencher
A bencher or Master of the Bench is a senior member of an Inn of Court in England and Wales and Ireland. Benchers hold office for life once elected. A bencher can be elected while still a barrister (usually, but not always, Queen's Counsel), in recognition of the contribution that the barrister has made to the life of the Inn or to the law. Others become benchers as a matter of course when appointed as a High Court judge. The Inn may elect non-members as honorary benchers – for example, distinguished judges and lawyers from other countries, eminent non-lawyers or members of the British Royal Family, who become known as "Royal Benchers" once elected.
One member of each Inn is the Treasurer, a position which is held for one year only. While succession to the post of Treasurer was once dependent purely on seniority, this is no longer the case. The Treasurer is now elected.Dookie (dog)
Dookie (1933 – ?) or Rozavel Golden Eagle was a Pembroke Welsh Corgi bought in 1933 by King George VI and was the first of many Welsh Corgis to join the Royal Family. The dog was especially popular with Queen Elizabeth II, who has since owned over thirty corgis.Family tree of the British royal family
This is the British monarchs' family tree, from James VI & I (whose accession united the thrones of England and Scotland) to the present monarch, Elizabeth II.Peter Phillips
Peter Mark Andrew Phillips (born 15 November 1977) is a member of the British royal family. He is the elder child and only son of Anne, Princess Royal, and her first husband, Captain Mark Phillips. He is the eldest grandchild of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. After graduating from university in 2000, he worked for Jaguar followed by WilliamsF1. In 2003, while working for WilliamsF1 in Canada, he met Autumn Kelly, whom he married in St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle in 2008. For many years Phillips has worked in the sports sponsorship and management fields. He is currently fourteenth in line of succession to the British throne.Prince Louis of Cambridge
Prince Louis of Cambridge (Louis Arthur Charles; ; born 23 April 2018) is a member of the British royal family. He is the third and youngest child and second son of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. He is fifth in the line of succession to the British throne.Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone
Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone, (Alice Mary Victoria Augusta Pauline; 25 February 1883 – 3 January 1981) was a member of the British royal family. She is the longest-lived princess of royal blood of the British royal family, and was the last surviving grandchild of Queen Victoria. She also held the titles of Princess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and Duchess in Saxony from birth, as well as a Princess of Teck by marriage, until 1917 when the British Royal Family ceased usage of German titles.Princess Charlotte of Cambridge
Princess Charlotte of Cambridge (Charlotte Elizabeth Diana; born 2 May 2015) is a member of the British royal family. She is the second child and only daughter of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. She is fourth in the line of succession to the British throne.Royal Collection
The Royal Collection is the art collection of the British Royal Family and the largest private art collection in the world.Spread among 13 occupied and historic royal residences in the United Kingdom, the collection is owned by Elizabeth II and overseen by the Royal Collection Trust. The Queen owns some of the collection in right of the Crown and some as a private individual. It is made up of over one million objects, including 7,000 paintings, 30,000 watercolours and drawings, and about 500,000 prints, as well as photographs, tapestries, furniture, ceramics, textiles, carriages, weapons, armour, jewellery, clocks, musical instruments, tableware, plants, manuscripts, books, and sculptures.
Some of the buildings which house the collection, like Hampton Court Palace, are open to the public and not lived in by the Royal Family, whilst others, like Windsor Castle and Kensington Palace, are both residences and open to the public. The Queen's Gallery at Buckingham Palace in London was built specially to exhibit pieces from the collection on a rotating basis. There is a similar art gallery next to the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, and a Drawings Gallery at Windsor Castle. The Crown Jewels are on public display in the Jewel House at the Tower of London.
About 3,000 objects are on loan to museums throughout the world, and many others are lent on a temporary basis to exhibitions.Royal Collection Trust
The Royal Collection Trust is a British charity established in 1993 by Queen Elizabeth II under the chairmanship of Charles, Prince of Wales to manage the Royal Collection. It is a company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales, No. 2713536. It is a Registered Charity No. 1016972,
Registered Office: York House, St James's Palace, London SW1A 1BQ.
Currently, the members of the Trust are:
Charles, Prince of Wales, KG KT GCB OM AK QSO ADC (Chairman)
The Earl Peel, GCVO PC DL (Deputy Chairman)
The Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry, KBE DL
Dame Rosalind Savill, DBE, FBA, FSA
The Baron Geidt, CVO OBE
Sir Alan Reid, KCVO (Keeper of the Privy Purse and Treasurer to The Queen)Royal Family Order of Edward VII
The Royal Family Order of King Edward VII was an honour bestowed as a mark of personal esteem on female members of the British Royal Family by King Edward VII. The order is a personal memento rather than a state decoration.Royal Family Order of Elizabeth II
The Royal Family Order of Queen Elizabeth II is an honour bestowed on female members of the British royal family by Queen Elizabeth II. The order is worn on formal occasions.The order should not be confused with the Mistress of the Robes badge of office worn by the Dowager Duchess of Grafton and previously by her predecessor as Mistress of the Robes, the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire.Royal Family Order of George IV
The Royal Family Order of King George IV was an honour bestowed as a mark of personal esteem on female members of the British Royal Family by King George IV. It was the first Royal Family Order issued in the United Kingdom. Prior to George IV's accession in 1820, both ladies and gentlemen of the Court, as well as female members of the royal family, had worn the Sovereign's portrait set in a jewelled frame. George IV formalised the order.Royal Family Order of George V
The Royal Family Order of King George V is an honour that was bestowed on female members of the British Royal Family by King George V.
Queen Elizabeth II is the only surviving recipient.Royal Family Order of George VI
The Royal Family Order of King George VI is an honour that was bestowed on female members of the British Royal Family by King George VI.
Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Alexandra are the only surviving recipients.Royal Family Orders of the United Kingdom
The sovereign of the United Kingdom may award a royal family order to female members of the British Royal Family, as they typically do not wear the commemorative medals that men do. The order is a personal memento rather than a state decoration. The same practice is in place in the United Kingdom as is in the royal families of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Tonga.Royal Order of Victoria and Albert
The Royal Order of Victoria and Albert was a British Royal Family Order instituted on 10 February 1862 by Queen Victoria, and enlarged on 10 October 1864, 15 November 1865, and 15 March 1880. No awards were made after the death of Queen Victoria.
The order had four classes and was only granted to female members of the British Royal Family and female courtiers. For the first three classes, the badge consisted of a medallion of Queen Victoria and Albert, The Prince Consort, differing in the width and jewelling of the border as the classes descend, whilst the fourth substitutes a jewelled cipher. All four were surmounted by a crown, which was attached to a bow of white silk moiré ribbon. The honour conferred no rank or title upon the recipient, but recipients were entitled to use the post-nominal letters "VA".
The last holder of the Order, Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone, died in 1981.Royal Variety Performance
The Royal Variety Performance is a televised variety show held annually in the United Kingdom to raise money for the Royal Variety Charity (of which Queen Elizabeth II is life-patron). It is attended by senior members of the British Royal Family. The evening's performance is presented as a live variety show, usually from a theatre in London and consists of family entertainment that includes comedy, music, dance, magic and other speciality acts.
The Royal Variety Performance traditionally begins with the entrance of the members of the British Royal Family followed by singing of the national anthem, God Save the Queen, which was also performed by the participating acts as a traditional end to Royal Variety Performances.Serena Armstrong-Jones, Countess of Snowdon
Serena Alleyne Armstrong-Jones, Countess of Snowdon (née Stanhope; born 1 March 1970) is an Anglo-Irish aristocrat and the daughter-in-law of Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, and a niece-in-law of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.